Authorities: Cape house fire under investigation
Authorities are conducting an investigation into an early morning fire that caused $75,000 worth of damage to a Cape Coral home.
At 1:06 a.m. Tuesday, fire units responded to a 911 call about a residential structure fire at 433 S.W. Ninth St. The fire was extinguished and fire crews determined it had started in the southwest corner of a room that is adjacent to the garage and that was used to store lawn equipment, officials reported.
A primary search of the home revealed all were accounted for and no one has been injured. The fire was out by 1:30 a.m. and the home was secured, according to officials. The event caused an estimated $75,000 in damage.
“The cause of the fire has been ruled incendiary in nature,” Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the city, said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
Dawn Goucher, the owner of the home, told authorities that she received a threatening phone call at about 11 p.m. Monday from a person known to her.
The caller allegedly said he was going to destroy her son’s vehicle and torch her home. Goucher hung up, went home and told her family what happened.
“He told me he was going to make my life completely miserable,” she said.
After telling her family about the call, Goucher proceeded to check all the upstairs windows and doors of the home to make sure they were locked. As Goucher made her way to the lanai to the screen doors, she smelled smoke. Goucher opened the interior door to the garage and was hit with smoke.
She quickly shut the door, gathered her family and exited the home. Once outside, they called 911. In total, there were four people and one dog inside the residence at the time of the fire, including Goucher, her brother, Shaun Goucher, her son, Army Spc. Taylor Tipton, and her 12-year-old daughter.
Goucher said it took fire crews only minutes to get to her home, but because she knew there was a fire and her house was burning, it seemed like forever.
“They’re right up the street, but I felt like it took 20 minutes,” she said.
According to Goucher, when she realized the house was on fire, the only thing she could think about was getting her family to safety.
“Everything else can be replaced,” she said.
The storage room, where the fire reportedly started, is caked in black soot, along with the inside side of the garage where the room is located. Goucher’s SUV was in the garage at the time of the fire and it is covered in soot. Burn marks can be observed on an exterior roll-down door to the storage room.
“Everything in there is just black,” she said.
Goucher said various items in the storage room, including lawn equipment, cleaning supplies, yard tools and holiday decorations, have been destroyed.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” she said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office could not be reached for comment Tuesday.